Dear subscriber,

2021: The Year of the Vaccine, No Visas & Free Trade in  Africa!

Do you know that while in December 2020 you are queuing up for a National Identity Number (NIN), by March 2021, you are likely to queue not only for a NIN but a vaccine and international visas. You may be also be visiting at least 20 African countries with no visa requirements. However,  you will need a yellow card for covid-19, yellow fever, measles and cholera. This has become all the more necessary because of the likely commencement of the AfCFTA (January 4, 2021) in addition to the ECOWAS protocol and Nigeria’s border reopening.

The Economist Intelligence Unit is estimating that GDP growth will be uneven across several African countries. For the leading economies (Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana), policy authorities will be confronted with various macroeconomic challenges especially with the new variant lurking around.

The overall economic performance in the SSA region will be strongly influenced by the trends in the two largest economies (Nigeria & South Africa) which account for about one-third of SSA’s GDP. SSA is projected to contract by 4.5% in 2020 before a modest recovery to 2.2% and 3.5% in 2021 and 2022 respectively. The rising external debt will also continue to plague the region. External debt stock is projected to increase by 6.2% to $693bn in 2021.

Most noteworthy is that by 2021, African manufacturers, banks, airlines and businesses will go head to head. Countries will be seeking sources of comparative advantage whilst companies will be fighting for competitive advantage. African countries will need to brace up for this new era of open markets and near currency convertibility. There would also be more recognition of African acts and expatriates globally. In the end, it’s not all gloomy for Africa….there still some bright spots!

This edition of the FDC Afriscope reveals the benefits of the AfCFTA and provides a regional (SSA) and country specific 2021 outlook for the leading African economies. There are also other interesting economic, political and social stories.

Do enjoy your read!